COGS Q240 Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science
Fall 2008 Schedule and Syllabus
(Prof.) Colin Allen <firstname.lastname@example.org> Goodbody Hall 113, 855-8916
Office hours: Wednesdays immediately after class, or by appointment.
(A.I.) Carlos Zednik <email@example.com> Sycamore 021
Office hours: Mondays 1:30-2:30
Cognitive Science emerged almost 50 years ago from developments in philosophy, computer science, psychology, and linguistics. Central to this emergence were new ideas about how minds could be understood in computational terms: the computational theory of mind. The belief that intelligence could be understood in terms of physical processing of symbolic representations served to unite artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology under a common philosophical framework, and it was believed that computers with human-level capacities would be rapidly achieved. Progress in artificial intelligence, however, has been much slower than anticipated, and developments in neuroscience, in artificial neural networks, and in dynamical and evolutionary approaches to cognition and robotics, have caused some to question whether cognitive science should remain committed to the computational theory of mind. In this course, students will learn about the original promise of the computational theory, and how it provided an alternative to earlier philosophical and scientific views about the relationship between mind and body. We will go on to consider the debate about whether evolutionary, embodied, and dynamical systems approaches to cognitive science amount to an overthrow of its traditional symbolic-representationalist core as well as providing a philosophical challenge to our deep-seated conception of ourselves as human agents with rational beliefs.
Assignments and Grading
This course is designated Intensive Writing(IW).From the faculty handbook: “For a course to qualify for IW credit, students must be required to write at least 5,000 words (roughly 20 typed pages), not counting revisions (and excluding essay examinations and informal writing, e.g., journals or brief response statements). Students must receive periodic evaluations of their writing, and they must be required to redraft one or more papers in light of the instructor’s criticism. Ordinarily students will write a series of papers over the course of a semester, not one long term paper.” There are no scheduled examinations, but there are weekly forum posting assignments and six formal pieces of writing required.
Late submissions are unacceptable and will incur a grade penalty of 1 point per 24 hrs because several of the Friday discussion sessions will involve discussion of drafts of submitted work. The writing assignments are tightly integrated with the main lecture content, so attendance at all three meetings each week is important. Occasional pop quizzes on readings may be used to determine attendance and participation.
Letter grades will be converted to and from points according to the following 10 point scale:
|A+ 10||A 9.5||A- 9.0||B+ 8.7||B 8.3||B- 8.0||C+ 7.7||C 7.3||C- 7.0||D+ 6.7||D 6.2||D- 6.0|
There is no required textbook for the course but there are roughly two required readings per week. The schedule below has links to the required readings. Some of these items require a password for access, and some (e.g. jstor) may be inaccessible if you are outside the campus network. Note: local pdfs of jstor articles are provided for convenience of IU students who have fair use rights to them through the university license.
For those interested in a text book that covers some of this material, Andy Clark's Mindware 2nd Edition, Oxford Univ. Press, may be a helpful companion.
|09/03||What is (Philosophy of) Cognitive Science?||Thagard (2007) "Cognitive Science" (html)|
|09/05||Discussion Section||Intensive writing (IW) objectives and assignments.|
|Week 2||Forum starters: Zednik + Allen|
|09/08||Rationalists and Empricists||Descartes (1641) Meditations 1 and 2|
Hume (1777) Enquiry sections 2 and 3 (skip secs. 1, 4, and 5)
|09/10||Chomsky and Skinner||*IW-1 DUE* Write 250-500 words on the question "Are minds machines?"||Chomsky (1959/1967) "Review of B.F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior" (html) (pdf)|
|Week 3||Forum starters: Michael Hansen + Austin Steel|
|09/15||Metaphors for Mind I: Maps and Images||Tolman (1948) "Cognitive maps in rats in men" (html) (pdf)|
Shepherd & Metzler (1971) "Mental rotation of three-dimensional objects" (jstor) (pdf)
|09/17||Metaphors for Mind II: Machines||Explore at least one of the interactive sites linked to these articles.||Read the Wikipedia Turing Machine entry (html) entry first, then, for a more in-depth treatment see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry (html)|
|Week 4||Forum starters: Andrew Harbor + Kelley Gordon|
|09/22||Functionalism||Block (1996) "What is Functionalism?" (pdf)|
|09/24||Turing Test and Classical AI||Turing (1950) "Computing Machinery & Intelligence"(html) (pdf|
Schank & Abelson (1977) excerpts from Scripts, Plans, Goals, and Understanding (pdf)
|Week 5||Forum starters: Aleksandra Hawryluk + Monique Goodwin|
|09/29||Physical Symbols System Hypothesis||Newell & Simon (1975) "Computer science as empirical enquiry: symbols and search" (pdf 2.5MB!)|
|10/01||Chinese Room||*IW-2 DUE* Write 500-750 words to explain functionalism to an 8th grader.||Searle (1980) "Minds, Brains, and Programs" (html)|
|Week 6||Forum starters: Jacob Henderson + Maxwell Frank|
|10/06||Brains & Neurons||Society for Neuroscience (2005) Brain Facts (pdf): read pages 4-25|
|10/08||Autonomy of Psychology||Fodor (1974) "Special Sciences (or: The disunity of science as a working hypothesis)" (pdf)|
|Week 7||Forum starters: Aaron Kunkle + Nathaniel Cindrich|
|10/13||Integrating levels||Marr (1980) selection from Vision (pdf 2.8 MB!)|
|10/15||The Place of Folk Psychology||*IW-3 DUE* Write 1000-1250 words on the question "Could a digital computer be a thinking machine?"||Dennett (1981) "True believers" (pdf 3.6MB!)|
|Week 8||Forum starters: Marcus Lamaster + Kyle Carter|
|10/20||Beliefs and Rationality||Tversky & Kahneman "Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases" (jstor) (pdf)|
|10/22||Theory of Mind||Wimmer & Perner (1983) "Beliefs about beliefs: Representation and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children's understanding of deception" (pdf) |
Optional: Gordon (2004) "Folk Psychology as Simulation" (html [SEP entry])
|Week 9||Forum starters: Thien Nguyen + Emily Cahill|
|10/27||Connectionism I||Learning in artificial neural networks (Background primer)|
|10/29||Connectionism II||Pollack (1989) "Connectionism: past, present, and future" (pdf)|
|Week 10||Forum starters: Jenna Norden|
|11/03||Eliminativism I||Ramsey, Stich, & Garon (1991) "Connectionism, eliminativism, and the future of folk psychology" (jstor) (pdf 2)|
|11/05||Eliminativism II||Brooks (1991) "Intelligence without representation" (pdf)|
|Week 11||Forum starters: Darin Patrick|
|11/10||Robotics 2||Harvey et al. (2005) "Evolutionary Robotics: A new scientific tool for studying cognition" (pdf)|
|11/12||Embodied Cognition||*IW-4 DUE* 1500-1800 words on the question "Folk Psychology: Dead or Alive?"||Clark (1998) "Embodiment and the Philosophy of Mind" (pdf)|
|Week 12||Forum starters: Gail Rosenbaum + Nicole Beckage|
|11/17||Extended Mind||Clark, A. and D. J. Chalmers (1998) "The Extended Mind" (pdf)|
|11/19||Dynamical Systems||Beer (2000) "Dynamical approaches to cognitive science" (pdf)|
|Week 13||Forum starters: Cameo Rye + Andrew Armington|
|11/24||Dynamical Philosophy||van Gelder (1995) "What might cognition be if not computation?" (pdf)|
|Week 14||Forum starters: Lucas Sinex + Claire Alvis|
|12/01||Emotion||Damasio Descartes' Error ch 1 and ch 7|
|12/03||Mirror neurons||Allen (2009) "Mirror, Mirror in the Brain, What's the Monkey Stand to Gain?" (pdf)|
|12/05||Discussion Section||*IW-5 DUE* Choose either of the previous two writing assignments and revise it in light of the comments you received (1500-1800 words; total does not count towards IW minimum)|
|Week 15||Forum starters: open mic!|
|12/08||Bird Brains||Emery (2006) "Cognitive ornithology: the evolution of avian intelligence" (pdf)|
|12/15||no classes||*IW-6 DUE* Final paper: 2000-2500 words on "Are minds machines?" (Other topics acceptable if approved in advance, no later than 12/01)|
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Statement about Academic Misconduct
University rules concerning academic misconduct will be rigorously enforced in this class. See IU Code of Ethics, Part II for details.